HOISINGTON, Kan. (CIK) Mastering the inside-out game is one key to success on the hardwood. Friday night in Hoisington, TMP took advantage of height on the inside and a senior sharpshooter on the outside to advance to Saturday afternoon's sub-state championship with a 66-54 win over Hoisington.
Fouls played a huge role in the first half of Friday's finale. Hoisington sophomore Drew Nicholson, the team's leading scorer, picked up a second foul late in the first and sat for most of the second. Sophomore guard Mason Haxton picked up a second foul late in the second quarter.
Still, the Cardinals were able to hang around. Ryan Woydziak scored in the lane for a 19-16 score in the final 32 seconds. TMP senior Ryan Karlin answered for the Monarchs, then TMP delivered its biggest blow in the final four seconds. Freshman Bryce Seib got the ball on a turnover. Running out of time, he pulled up and knocked down a three at the horn to send the Monarchs into the break with a 24-16 lead.
Nicholson returned to the floor in the second half with five points and two rebounds in under two minutes. But Haxton picked up a third, then a fourth foul.
That opened the door for Karlin. He swished all four 3-point tries in the third quarter and made a sixth-straight in the six. All said, Karlin made his final 13 shots of the game, including six threes and six free throws. He finished with a game-high 28.
"He is capable of shooting like that every night," said TMP coach Bill Meagher. "Normally he doesn't get that many opportunities, but the way the game played out tonight, he found himself in transition quite a bit and he can shoot like that."
Hoisington trailed by as many as 19 points in the final quarter but did make it interesting. Playing with four fouls, Haxton scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the final eight minutes to get the deficit all the way to 60-50 with 1:53 remaining.
But TMP was just too much inside. The Monarchs made several shots at the rim down the stretch. Six-foot-seven senior Jared Myers finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Six-foot-three senior Jack Johnson and Grant Ginther each finished with six points.
"We were trying to make (our size) a big issue," Meagher said. "It's hard for us to guard them offensive but we felt like on our side it paid off."
TMP (12-10) is now a win away from another trip to state, but this year's sub-state championship roster is a virtual do-over from last year's. "At this point we're just having fun and trying to get the best finish we can have," said Meagher. "We'll have fun tomorrow and play without pressure."